Last season, the boys swim team finished the year with a record of 10–3 and lost to Millburn High School in the quarterfinals of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association North II, Group B Championship. This season, Co-Captains Stephen Kratzer ’16, David Cohen ’16, and Christian Chiang ’16 all qualified for the Mercer County Championships, along with Alexander Petruso ’17 and Gabriel Bar-Cohen ’17. The five qualifiers helped the team garner a third place finish in the Mercer County Championship, but the team’s season was brought to a close after being defeated in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA North II, Group B Championship for a second year in a row.
The team closed its season with an overall record of 9–5. Bar-Cohen attributes the drop in the team’s record to the graduation of seniors last year. “We lost a lot of really good swimmers last year, and it has been really difficult picking it back up, especially in long distance events like the 500 free. Other teams in the county haven’t had to deal with it as much, but we have been doing a good job of picking it back up,” said Bar-Cohen. There are eight seniors left in total, four of whom swam the 500 meter freestyle.
Members of the team have focused on being in the best mental and physical shape in order to have the best individual and relay placements as they prepared for states.
Petruso, who is also a club swimmer, said, “It’s really about the mindset you have going into it. If you have a proper idea [of the meet] and know you just have to leave everything you have in the water each meet, you are going to get the farthest possible.” To achieve team bonding and cohesion, the team had pasta dinners, prepared psychs, and hung out at each other’s houses before meets.
Petruso also added the importance of taking time to rest to ensure the best possible performance. “[Club coaches] will let you taper, which is letting you heal by resting and doing some easier practices the day before, so that we aren’t tired the before we go into a meet.”
Will Kinney ’17 acknowledged the efforts made by the team to improve from their early exit during states last year. “The consistent practice schedule is really translating into going faster in the meets and having good swims. We’ve been training this whole season, going to every practice and working hard, knowing that every meet will be tough.” This mentality helped Kinney reach his career personal best of 49.61 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle against Summit High School in the first round of states. Kratzner and Bar-Cohen also achieved new personal bests in the meet.
Ultimately, the team members’ efforts were not enough to propel them past last year’s result. They lost to Morristown High School 116 to 54, Kinney being the only member to place first in his event.
Head Coach Carly Misiewicz , reflecting on the dismissal, said, “We weren’t as deep as we’ve been in past years and lost a lot of guys in the process. We moved up to North II, even though I consider us Central Jersey, so we faced bigger schools and more competition. I think that was our downfall.”
With the season coming to an end, the team hopes to revitalize their swimmers for another season in 2016—2017.